A mantel plaque from my niece, Julie, inspired the following.
“A Christmas Fantasy”
Once upon a time, in a neighborhood not far from a small city, joy reigned. “Surely,” the residents told one another on Christmas Eve afternoon, “This year’s decorations have never been more appealing.” They spoke well. Each home honored the season according to personal taste.
Lights, simple and elaborate. Christmas carols, sung and recorded. Families and neighbors laughing, exchanging holiday wishes. Snow people and Santas. Manger scenes, candles in windows to welcome the Christ-child, sparkling stars, and much more.
Sadie Johnson, although it could have been Dolores Garcia, Sara Kim, or any of the other ladies who lived on “Christmas Carol Cul-de-sac,” paused in her last-minute duties to give thanks. For the first time in years, all the children and grand-children would be home. It meant both offices doubled as bedrooms, sleeping bags in the living room and dining room. Perhaps even parking someone in the RV.
“Dear Lord, please be with us as we celebrate–” Sadie began. The doorbell cut her prayer short.
A few hours later, she counted noses. “Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen. Everyone is here.” Sadie herded the family to the extended dinner table. The fragrance of traditional favorites had generated a gazillion, “When do we eat?” questions all afternoon. Grandfather Johnson asked a heartfelt blessing. The doorbell rang just as he closed with, “In Jesus’ name, amen.”
“I’ll get it.” A freckle-faced urchin raced to the door. “Hey, Gramma, a guy wants you. Says you invited him.”
Who on earth–? Sadie hurried to the door. Her heart skipped a beat. The words. Be with us as we celebrate pounded in her disbelieving brain. Had Jesus actually come to spend Christmas?
She gathered her wits and invited Him in. “Look Who is here,” she managed, thankful that in the confusion that followed her husband unobtrusively slid another chair to the dinner table. A quick-thinking daughter hastily added another place setting. Perhaps Jesus wouldn’t notice no one had expected Hiim. Even Sadie.
Once her nerves stopped twanging, things went well. Jesus delighted the children with stories of His childhood. He rocked the youngest baby to sleep and tucked her into her crib. His expression showed how much He loved children. However, when it came time for bed, Sadie panicked. The only place for their unexpected guest was the RV. Although He smiled and nodded, she felt like the innkeeper who had no room in the innz
After Jesus went out, a teenage cousin pointed to the glittering Christmas tree hovering over a mound of packages. “What are we gonna give Jesus?” He scowled. “You don’t have a birthday party for someone and not give them gifts.”
Sadie cringed. Stores were closed. Jesus would have no use for a check or gift card. She thought of the few crumpled bills in her church offering envelope, all that was left after her holiday shopping sprees. Her heart ached.
“Gramma, why are you sad?” A golden-haired granddaughter asked, face filled with concern.
Sadie fought tears. “We don’t have a present for Jesus,” she choked out.
A smile bloomed. Grew. She clapped her hands and crawled under the Christmas tree. “Oh, but we do! I asked Jesus what He wanted for Christmas. He said the only thing He wants is for us to love Him.”
“And a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
“Ballad for a King. ©2011 by Colleen L. Reece from Romance at Rainbow’s End
“Tell me, kind shepherds, when you came to the manger, what gifts did you bring to the new little stranger, Who quietly lay asleep on the hay?”
“We had no fine gifts on that glorious night when the fields were ablaze with a heavenly light., but our voices we raised in worship and praise.”
“Tell me, oh travelers, who came from afar, what did you bring, when you followed the Star and found Him that day, in the house where He lay?”
“Gold, frankincense, myrrh, from far distant lands. We bowed down in wonder and kissed His small hands.”
“Tell me, good people, what gifts do you bring, to the Savior Who loves us; the King of all kings? Will you open your hearts and invite Him to stay? Or, like the innkeeper, turn Him away?”